Digital Pharma Europe kicks off

Conveniently settled in Bayer’s Headquarters in Berlin the second Digital Pharma Europe kicks off tomorrow. As one of the sponsors we are looking forward to an exciting event with many interesting speakers and subjects. Just to name a few:

  • Social Media Bootcamp
  • PR, Marketing and Web 2.0: Integrating Functions to Communicate with One Voice
  • Exploring the Benefits and Challenges of Utilizing Different Social Media Channels to Communicate With Roche’s Diverse Stakeholders
  • The Two Way Relationship Behind Social Media is Rooted in Listening

We will be participating as panelist in the last one, so stay tuned for more information.

The tweetup of this evening already spurred some interesting discussions about how to leverage social media in pharma, so let’s have a look what EXL’s Digital Pharma has in stock.

SXSW 2010: Nina Hartley – Porn Star, Sex Educator, Social Networker

Yes, we also talked about sex at SXSW. Nina Hartley, porn star, sex educator and social networker lead a panel session on the impact of the internet and social media on the porno industry. Nina uses her knowledge and experience, both as an actrice and a nurse, for sexual education.

“In the US there is no sex education in schools, so when young poeople get out of school they are very ignorant  about their body, about relationships and about contraception.” Watching porno is for them a way to educate themselves. But that is a bad idea, accoridng to Nina, because porno is entertainment and doesn’t have much to do with reality. This situation inspired Nina to the ‘Nina Hartley Guides’, a series of educational videos about sex. Not without success, because the series gave her a lot of fans and admirers (of both sexes). Until recently, she could only get in contact with her fans through conventions and other meetings, but today social media gives her the opportunity to get in contact with them more frequently and more personal. Nina initiated the online community ‘‘ and the online TV show ‘‘ which will have their official launch on March 29, 2010.

Fiercesome location war at SXSW

We couldn’t help joining it as well. With so many devices, people connected and location based services it’s hard not to do so. What am I talking about? Location based services. I’m talking Foursquare, Gowalla, Brightkite, Flickr geotagging, geotagged tweets from Twitter, etc. It certainly was a ‘look-who’s-here-fest in Austin.

The people from SimpleGeo made an awesome video about the process, using their innovative data visualization tool. Clearly visible is the location war between Foursquare and Gowalla:

SXSW 2010 – And what about corporations?

That ‘interactive media’ has trespassed the masses seems obvious. Comfortably from your couch being social, or may be even in the office checking how many eggs your chicken has laid in Farmville, when the boss is not watching. But what is the situation anyway in the office? To what extend have social media tools been adopted in corporations? Wouldn’t it be a great asset if we could be a bit more ‘social’ there, too? Sort of the digital version of the water cooler conversations. Or on a serious note, may be these tools can help you finding that one person fitting in your team, or may know something of great value to your project.

Earlier we wrote several articles on ‘Enterprise 2.0’ a term coined first by Andrew McAfee. Enterprise 2.0 describes the use of web 2.0 technologies in an corporate environment. And by no means this is the water cooler chit-chat, but tools to make several business processes much more efficient.

McAfee is Principal Research Scientist at the Centre for Digital Business on MIT Sloan School of Management (put that on your business card), has a doctorate from Harvard Business School, two Bachelor degrees, author of the book ‘Enterprise 2.0’, bblogs on his own blog and on teh blog from Harvard University ‘HBR Voices’, has written more than 100 articles and case-studies, is columnist at the Washington Post, the Financial Times, is one of the fifty ‘Most Influential People in IT’, one of the hundred ‘Most influential executives in the technological industries’, and is a most wanted speaker on congresses and conferences.

Next to that is Andrew a nice and passionate guy. We spoke with him on SXSW2010 about Enterprise 2.0, his ‘tipping point’, why he uses the Groundswell upside down, the ever-returning question about ROI and why offline communication remains important.

SXSW 2010: Brian Solis – Organizations need to socialize

Social Media has changed the communication landscape and also the world of business has noticed that. But a Facebook group or a Twitter account is no guarantee for successful participation in the communities of your customers. To achieve that you need to do more. “You need to engage”, according to Brian Solis, Prinicpal at Futureworks and one of the prominent thought leaders in social media.

“As a company or as a brand you need to participate in the conversations in such manner that your not only of added value, but that you also involve your customers in your marketing and service activities.” Because of that social media will have an enormous impact in the organsational structure of a company. “Any division within an organization that is effected by outside influence is goiung to have to socialize”.  Eventually social media instruments will become aminstream as email is today, but before that organisations will need to go through a process of cultural change.

Brian was at SXSW to promote his latest book ‘Engage’, in his words the book that starts where the current scial media books stop. “There is not a single book that goes into this depth, that tells you how to apply social media to your job, how to get resources, how to measure it and how to get support.” We spoke with Brian about his book, about cultural change and about SXSW 2010.

SXSW 2010 – Tweet,

Now half the world is on Twitter (that’s how it feels anyway) corporate can’t stay behind. In previous blogposts we wrote about Enterprise 2.0 and we talked about the tools available for businesses. But the corporate world still find these tools a challenge. Especially Twitter. Can it benefit the company? Or can it hurt it?

Fortunately one can start internally with Yammer, a Twitter-like service (although they prefer themselves to be compared with Facebook) which make you send short messages to your colleagues. Within the firewall of course, and one can only access with a corporate e-mail address. No need to think that you can receive yams (=tweets from Yammer) from other businesses. But Yammer has more. Recently they introduced Yammer Communities, a way to use Yammer also outside the firewall, with customers of suppliers for example.

On SXSW 2010 we spoke with Steve Apfelberg, Vice President of Marketing and Matt Knopp, Lead Developer at Yammer. About the benefits of microblogging, safety, integration with existing software platforms and why Dutch people like Yammer so much.

SXSW 2010: Charlene Li: “Open Leadership and the upside of giving up control”

Meet Charlene Li, co-author of the Groundswell, a ‘must-read’ in Social Media. Li is close to publishing her latest book ‘Open Leadership’. SXSW has given her a stage to explain what it’s all about. The room is packed. With reason, because who didn’t get inspired by Groundswell.

In Open Leadership Li elaborates further on Social Media and how to use this as a professional organization. “The world around us has changed dramatically in only a few years time. Changed in the way we are sharing knowledge, experiences and emotions, online. It has influenced the way we communicate and collaborate with each other, and that is having a major influence in the way we build our relationships.”

However, only a handful of companies and other organizations embrace this change. Because ‘social’ within organizations seems to be hard. Why? Because it implies that you’ll give up control over your message, your product and your brand. And that is difficult. While, if you think about it, sharing and giving up control (which you don’t really have anyway), is the essence when building or maintaining a relationship. Within that relationship, you cannot control all the elements. Differences of opinion, misunderstandings and mistakes are inevitable. But in the end, that’s what makes the realtionship grow!

So, what you need, is sufficient confidence in your own strengths and capabilities and sufficient confidence in your customers (both internally and externally) to give up control. That’s Open Leadership. In her book Charlene demonstrates how you can achieve that as an organization.

In our interview, Charlene explains this further.

SXSW 2010: The future of Corporate culture at Southwest Airlines

‘Our employees are our number 1 customers’. How many CEO’s are saying that about their employees? Many, right? But how many truly live up to those words? In a way that their workers will acknowledge that? “Southwest Airlines”, according to Mallory Messina, Culture Ambassador at Southwest. “In SWA, we do things just a little different. And you’ll notice that in the behavior of all 35,000 employees. Our culture is what distinguishes ourselves from our competitors. SWA trusts us and empowers us.” Openness, transparancy and authenticity are key. Even long before the raise of New Media. The founders of the company have always strived to cherrish and nurture the culture, no matter the number of employees. And most, if not all, says Mallory, feel comfortable in this culture. “We’re happy people, and happy people make happy passengers”. Their out of the ordinary ‘Safety Instructions’ is an example of that.

Mallory brings the story with a lot of passion. For some even a bit over the top (really, is that possible here in the US?), referring to LampaGJ’s tweet: Abandoned Southwest Airlines cheerleadering #beyondbbqs panel for “how not to be a douchebag at sxsw.” But it is effective, cause SWA does have enthusiastic and driven employees, who get rewarded for their efforts and dedication. The core of the culture: ‘A Servant Heart, a Warrior Spirit and a Fun-Luving Attitude’, combined with an Employees Recognition Program. And it seems to work. Not even for the people of SWA, but this dedication seems to also affect their passengers, referring to SWA’a blog, their Facebook page (over 720,000 fans) and their Twitter account (more than 1 million followers). Still, things can go wrong, as it did with Kevin Smith (click here for full story). SWA made an attempt to acknowledge mistakes and be transparent about their policies (here and here), but the event backfired and cost them a number of customers in addition to a lot of negative publicity.

Funny enough, only now SWA is starting to implement Social Media for their internal communications. Very soon they will launch swalife, an internal blog for employees. While many of these employees are already active with the external tools. And surprisingly, without any ‘corporate guidelines’.  “Why hide if people had a bad day at work? Because that still happens at Southwest Airlines”, aldus Mallory.

We had a short interview with Mallory after her talk where she elaborates further on the corporate culture at SWA.

SXSW 2010: Congress of congresses

24 Hours and 3 flights later we’ve arrived in Austin, Texas. Where the tempereature has a comfortable 25 centigrades (77 F), the streets continously smell like BBQ with the sounds of countryrock. Austin, home to 50.000 students, center of modern technology and host of one of the largest events of music, film and interactive media: South by Southwest. An event like no other: with more than 10,000 participants larger than ever. We will make various video-reports in co-operation with Marketingfacts (one of the largest online marketingblogs in The Netherlands) covering SXSW interactive. Check our intro-video (but beware, it’s in Dutch):

SXSW is truly a huge festival: as said above, 10,000 participants atending over 350 sessions with more than 1,250 speakers. And don’t forget the numurous parties at night. Downside of this size of an event is that it’s hard to pick your session. Or a party. It’s almost too much! And you would love to be everywhere. Then again, it’s thrilling to be here. We hope to bring a bit of that feeling to you.

Up next is an interview (don’t worry, it’s in English) with Mallory Messina of Southwest Airlines about the future of Corporate Culture. Stay tuned.

Copy & Paste Your Social Media Guidelines Here

Ever wondered how to deal with all those new media tools used by your employees? Are they talking ‘on behalf’ or ‘about’ the company? Your management doesn’t want to engage in social media because they are too scared employees will hurt the company by tweeting bad things? Our advice:

Firstly, don’t make a company that gives reasons to blog/tweet badly (trust us, we know companies that should be hurt because of their internal mess).

Secondly, relax. You’re not the only one. Check out 118 companies in this database and download their corporate social/new media guidelines to learn, be inspired. Or just copy 7 paste.


“The newest computer can merely compound, at speed, the oldest problem in the relations between human beings, and in the end the communicator will be confronted with the old problem, of what to say and how to say it.”
Edward R. Murrow, Journalist

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